Of flowers, business, healing and mothers
KOHIMA – A mother’s unique nurturing ability can greatly impact individuals to bloom into something of beautiful worth.
Perhaps for this reason, women are gifted with flowers by their loved ones on special occasions like Mother’s Day. It is also the same mother’s love and guidance that has impacted local flower shops to bloom.
As the world celebrates Mother’s Day on May 14, this year, Eastern Mirror brings you a conversation with some of the flower growers in Kohima.
Kevi Pienyu, 45, whose flower business has grown exponentially over the years, said she employs five persons and has given employment opportunities to over 20 other women from different sectors.
She has helped at least 10 people from the village who had no idea about the flower business, Pienyu said. ‘Some of them were from financially constrained backgrounds needing helping hands in their children’s education and to clear debts, etc.,’ she shared.
She gives them flowers on credit (at a wholesale rate) to sell in the market. Once they sell it, the capital is returned to her and the rest — profit — belongs to them. They are now happy with what they do and present her with new flowers from time to time, she said.
The mother of six — three boys and three girls — said that she gets immense satisfaction from what she does and ‘feels healthier’ looking at her flowers.
Finding healing in flowers
“After what had happened to my husband, my interest in flowers grew all the more; and looking at flowers helped me to forget my heartache and worry,” shared Teisovino Neikha, whose husband passed away two years ago.
She said that flowers help her go through difficult times, especially when she is unwell.
The 45-year-old mother of two, who is based in Kohima, said most of her flowers are sourced from Nagaland and some from outside the state. She wants to start a flower nursery and create employment opportunities to youths.
For Tiarenla Mozhui, flowers are ‘stress busters’. She said that she forgets all hardships after looking at her flowers.
‘Even if it takes effort to grow flowers, I find joy in growing them. After going home from a hectic day, I forget everything when I look at the flowers and find happiness in them,’ she said.
Bino, a mother of four from Kohima, said flowers ‘divert’ her mind from stress and worry. One does not realise how time flies when spent with flowers, she said, adding that it comforts her.
On flower growing, she said everyone has different experiences. For her, whatever little she has earned from selling them is a joy as that was something she puts effort into.
She has been growing flowers for a long time but never commercialised it. But now, she is able to do business with her passion, providing her self-support.
Meanwhile, 78-year-old Apokla, a retired government servant, said that looking at her flowers in the morning is another level of happiness. She also likes it when her friends visit her and find happiness in the flowers she has planted.
Sourcing from abroad
For Neikha, the interest in growing flowers started early. After her business started growing, she applied for a polyhouse from the department of Horticulture for a rose nursery, which was granted. Her business increased and needed a bigger poly, so she applied for a lilium polyhouse for the second time, which was also given.
This gesture from the department, she said, encouraged her to continue growing flowers.
Speaking more about source of flowers, she said euphorbia is sourced from Bangkok. Three years ago, she brought a few pots of hybrid and big petal euphorbia plants from Bangkok, which was new then. It is now available in plenty in Kohima and Dimapur, she added.
Sharing more details about bringing these flowers to Nagaland, she said that about 4000 to 5000 plants worth about INR 8 lakh are brought from Bangkok at one go.
‘If it survives the transportation process, it is 100% profit, but if it dies, we lose everything,’ she said. From Bangkok, the plants are uprooted and dried for two-three days as bringing 5000 live plants from a far place is not a joke, she added.
When dried, the plants can survive for even one month and upon reaching, the plants will be soaked overnight and will survive. In two to three months, the leaves will start growing and the flower will blossom in another six months, she shared.
Besides Bangkok, she also source flowers like orchid and anthurium from China.
Challenge of growing flowers
‘The main challenge of growing flowers is that it needs a lot of care and hard work. Plants are different- some need air, some sun, and some indoors. As growers, one must know the nature of each flower and plant them accordingly,’ Mozhui said, adding that she shares how to care for the flowers to her customers.
Another challenge for her is watering the plants. ‘Some need more water, while others need less. Overwatering can kill a flower, especially delicate ones,’ said the mother of three who has been growing flowers for 20 years now.
Sharing her experience, Mozhui said she once bought two plants for INR 20,000 (INR 10,000 for a plant) but one started to rot. So, she uprooted it to see what was wrong; it survived after she added nutrients and watered carefully.
‘A lot of people keep saying their flowers rotted or died. This is because they did not take proper care of their plants,’ she said, adding that she is practical and invests time in her flowers.
She also runs her own flower outlet in Kohima which is looked after by her daughter. Besides contributing to the family through earnings from selling flowers, she said it enables her to generate employment for others in various ways.
Taking her mother’s footsteps, one of her daughters is now in the flower business.
‘My daughter learnt how to grow and arrange flowers by watching me,’ she said, adding that it needs practice to arrange or grow flowers.
In the words of the mother, her daughter arranges bouquets ‘even better than her’.